Objective: Evaluate the impact of the timing of SARS-CoV-2 infection on pregnancy outcomes in a low-middle income setting. Design: two parallel, observational studies. Setting and population: pregnant women or women presenting for labour, enrolled between April-September 2020, in South Africa. Methods: i) longitudinal follow-up study of symptomatic or asymptomatic pregnant women investigated for SARS-CoV-2 infection antenatally, ii) cross-sectional study of SARS-CoV-2 infection at time of labour. SARS-CoV-2 infection was investigated by nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Main Outcome Measures: association of SARS-CoV-2 infection on nasal swab and birth outcomes. Results: Antenatally, 793 women were tested for SARS-CoV-2. Overall SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed in 138 women, including 119/275 with symptomatic illness (COVID-19) and 19/518 asymptomatic women; 493 women were asymptomatic and SARS-CoV-2 non-reactive. Women with COVID-19 were 1.66-times (95%CI: 1.02, 1.71) more likely to have a low-birthweight newborn (30%) compared to asymptomatic women without SARS-CoV-2 (21%). Overall, 3117 women were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection at delivery, including 1560 healthy women with an uncomplicated term delivery. Adverse birth outcomes or pregnancy-related complications were not associated with infection at delivery. Among women with SARS-CoV-2 infection at delivery, NAAT was reactive on 6/98 of maternal blood samples, 8/93 of cord-blood, 14/54 of placentas and 3/22 of nasopharyngeal swabs from newborns collected within 72-hours of birth. Conclusions: Antenatal, but not intrapartum, SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with low-birthweight delivery. Maternal infection at the time of labour was associated with in utero foetal and placental infection, and possible vertical and/or horizontal viral transfer to the newborn.
Introduction: We describe epidemiology and outcomes of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and admissions among children <18 years in South Africa, an upper-middle income setting with high inequality. Methods: Laboratory and hospital COVID-19 surveillance data, 28 January - 19 September 2020 was used. Testing rates were calculated as number of tested for SARS-CoV-2 divided by population at risk; test positivity rates were calculated as positive tests divided by total number of tests. In-hospital case fatality ratio (CFR) was calculated based on hospitalized positive admissions with outcome data who died in-hospital and death was judged SARS-CoV-2 related by attending physician. Findings: 315,570 children aged <18 years were tested for SARS-CoV-2; representing 8.9% of all 3,548,738 tests and 1.6% of all children in the country. Of children tested, 46,137 (14.6%) were positive. Children made up 2.9% (n=2,007) of all SARS-CoV-2 positive admissions to sentinel hospitals. Among children, 47 died (2.6% case-fatality). In-hospital deaths were associated with male sex [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.18 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.08 - 4.40)] vs female; age <1 year [aOR 4.11 (95% CI 1.08-15.54)], age 10-14 years [aOR 4.20 (95% CI1.07-16.44)], age 15-17 years [aOR 4.86 (95% 1.28 -18.51)] vs age 1-4 years; admission to a public hospital [aOR 5.07(95% 2.01 -12.76)] vs private hospital and ≥1 underlying conditions [aOR 12.09 (95% CI 4.19-34.89)] vs none Conclusions: Children with underlying conditions were at greater risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 outcomes. Children > 10 years and those with underlying conditions should be considered for increased testing and vaccination.